ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 vs. ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 review

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 provides a comfortable ride to neutral runners. ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 provides a very plush ride to mild to moderate overpronators...

NEW! ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 vs. ASICS GEL-Kayano 22 and ASICS GEL-Cumulus 18 vs. ASICS GEL-Kayano 23

The ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 and the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 fall in two different categories of running shoes with the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 being a neutral cushioning running shoe for runners who do not need any stability and support, and the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 being a running shoe for mild to moderate overpronators.

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The uppers of the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 The preceding link takes you to Amazon.com and the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 are quite different in that the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 has a mostly no-sew upper and the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 has traditional stitched-on overlays in its upper in addition to no-sew overlays.

This makes the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 a bit more supportive, since it gives you a good wrap around the midfoot, and the no-sew overlays in between help bring the upper closer to your foot.

However, the no-sew overlays on the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 also provide a good wrap around the midfoot, so you should get enough support there, but not to the extent that you would get from the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21.

Another difference in the upper is that the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 has an external heel counter that cups the heel well and locks it down. The ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 does not have an external heel counter, but you should still get enough support behind the heel.

All in all, the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 has a more durable and supportive upper, but you should get a more comfortable and irritation-free fit from the upper of the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17.

Both the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 and the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 have midsoles that provide heel-to-toe cushioning, and that consist of two layers of foam with GEL cushioning in between.

However, by looking at the shoes one can immediately see that the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 has more GEL cushioning in its forefoot than the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17, because it has more GEL pods in the forefoot.

Running shoe lab tests confirm that the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 has a more cushy forefoot than the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 for both men and women. The difference between the two shoes is particularly large for women.

The ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 also wins where heel cushioning is concerned, but running shoe lab tests reveal that the difference is small for men.

If you are a man, you will probably not feel much of a difference in cushioning between the two running shoes. However, if you are a woman, the forefoot of the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 may feel a bit firm when compared to that of the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21.

While there is a difference in heel cushioning, it is not as big as the difference in forefoot cushioning.

Because the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 is a shoe that it geared towards overpronators, it comes with support on the medial side of the midsole in the form of an area of firmer foam. This is absent in the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17.

However, the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 also has a midfoot shank to provide midfoot integrity just like the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21, but unlike the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21, the midfoot shank of the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 consists of two pieces that are not connected to each other.

This again is an indication that the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 is meant to provide stability and support.

The rubber outsoles of the two running shoes have a similar configuration or setup. There is a good amount of separation between rubber compartments for shock absorption and dissipation, and the amount of flex grooves is the same in both shoes.

Both shoes also have a Guidance Line vertical flex groove that helps you achieve a more efficient gait.

The only difference between the outsoles lies in the way the rubber compartments are cut. The cuts in the rubber compartments of the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 are more blocky, while those in the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 are linear and wavy.

This should not have much of an effect on flexibility, though. And indeed, running shoe lab tests show that the two running shoes are almost equally flexible or stiff for men with the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 being slightly stiffer than the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21.

For women, the difference is much greater with the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 being way more flexible than the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21. This is probably due to the fact that the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 has less forefoot cushioning than the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21.

The women's version of the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 weighs approximately 9.5 oz (269 grams) and the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17 for women weighs 9.3 oz (264 grams).

The men's versions of the shoes weigh 11.3 oz (320 grams) and 11.4 oz (323 grams) respectively, with the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 being the lighter one.

If you are a male neutral runner looking for a cushy running shoe, you could go either way, since the stability and support offered by the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 is not to the extreme that it would get in the way of a neutral runner. In fact, ASICS lists it as being suitable for neutral to overpronated gaits.

However, if you are a female runner looking for the same, you may want to consider the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 more than the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17, since there is a significant difference in cushioning delivered by the two running shoes. The difference is negligible for men. Another option would be to look into the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 17, which is the bigger brother of the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17.

And if you are an overpronator who needs a moderate amount of stability and support, then the ASICS GEL-Kayano 21 would be the one to choose above the ASICS GEL-Cumulus 17.

Note: The weight of a running shoe depends on the size of the running shoe, so any weights mentioned in this review may differ from the weight of the running shoe you choose to wear. Running shoes of the same size were compared for this review.

The two links above will take you to Amazon.com where you can read more about the running shoes.


This review falls under: ASICS

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